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Idaho Museum of Natural History to host raptor specialist

September 24, 2007
ISU Marketing and Communications

The Idaho Museum of Natural History will host a free public lecture, “Back by Popular Demand: California condors and Aplomado Falcons in the American West,” by raptor specialist Trish Nixon of The Peregrine Fund: World Center for Birds of Prey.

The lecture is scheduled for Sept. 26 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the ISU Pond Student Union Building’s Wood River Dining Room.

Nixon will present information on The Peregrine Fund’s captive breeding and release program. The presentation will focus on two endangered bird species, the California condor and the Aplomado falcon. Audience members can see these birds up close, take photos and have their questions answered by Nixon.

The Aplomado falcon is the last falcon on the endangered species list in North America.  The decline of the Aplomado falcon population is attributed to land-use changes and pesticides. In 1993 The Peregrine Fund began a captive breeding project to increase the bird’s numbers and is now releasing them to their former habitats in Texas and New Mexico.

The California condor has been on the endangered species list for several decades.  By the mid-1980s only 22 still existed. Through the fund’s captive breeding efforts, the number of California condors has risen to more than 250.

Nixon will discuss the success of these programs and will share unique photos of the breeding process from hatching to flight in the wild. In addition, she will describe hunting habits, prey preferences, nesting requirements and niches in the food chain.

Nixon is currently the trainer and caretaker of 17 birds of prey housed at The Peregrine Fund, including eagles, owls, falcons, hawks and a turkey vulture. She travels throughout the United States presenting programs such as this and introducing birds of prey to audiences of all ages. Nixon’s work provides essential information about raptors in the wild. “The more people understand the value of raptors in the environment,” says Nixon, “the greater their interest in conserving these magnificent birds.”

The Peregrine Fund is a non-profit organization working around the world to save birds of prey and the environments in which they live. The organization was founded in 1970 and has worked with endangered birds in more than 30 countries.  More than 30,000 people visit the interpretive visitors’ center in Boise each year where they can enjoy movies, hands-on displays, interpretive talks and one of the most impressive collections of birds of prey in the U.S.

Nixon will also visit several area schools including Marsh Valley Middle School, Roosevelt Academy, Pocatello Charter School and the ISU Department of Biological Sciences. Nixon’s lecture and visit is being sponsored by the Best Western CottonTree Inn with additional support from ISU Cultural Affairs Committee and Marsh Valley Middle School.

For more information about the interpretive center, visit the Web site at www.peregrinefund.org. For more information about Trish Nixon’s visit, contact Kristin Fletcher at the Idaho Museum of Natural History, (208) 282-2262 or fletkris@isu.edu.


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